This morning, my son tried to eat my nose. He’s currently commando crawling around the house, banging the ground with assorted kitchen utensils that have been offered up for entertainment and finding remnants of toast or capsicum on the floor from one of yesterday’s meal times. He squawks and squeals with delight, while eating one of his Mama’s Havianas.
Thoughts are banging around in my head. A writer who never writes trying to squeeze out some words, during this brief window of opportunity while little man licks Sam’s footwear and she sleeps. I have struggled to write poetry lately. This morning I wonder if it’s time to let go of that for a while; if it’s time to tell different stories with different words, to pause and let the beautiful chaos of the last seven months bubble up and out into whatever form it needs to take.
Seven months ago, I ate a jelly cup and a sandwich at 1 am in the hospital emergency room, eyes bloodshot and blurry. I drifted towards one of the bathrooms as if I was going to regain my composure there. My son, about eight hours old, covered in tubes, straps, machines, looking more like a sci-fi experiment than a newborn. I felt like I had no strength to offer my boy, or my wife - and I wasn’t the one who had pushed a child out of my body (without any medical pain relief). My mind, stuck somewhere between the intense admiration of my lady, so strong, so courageous, so powerful - and the reality that one of the NETS team, an expert on the resuscitation and emergency transportation of newborn babies had seen my boy and commented to his colleague, “He looks rubbish.”
My heart opened up into something new that night. Swelling deep with this new fatherhood love and this monstrous, gaping fear that my son might not live out his first night in the world. More than ever I wanted to protect Sam, to hold her, to defend the exhausted body of my other half; and yet, I now had a new human to protect, to fight for, to hold the tiny hand of and try to communicate that the world isn’t always so bad. That it was a beautiful thing watching mother labour to meet baby; that his first breath, cough, feed were marvellous, magical things. I wanted to sit in the space of these things, wrap this tiny life against my chest, breathe him in. But we were jolted into this other space of fear and uncertainty almost immediately after calling our parents to whisper his name, “Noah.”
At 3am, we arrived home, brand new parents - without our baby.
I don’t ever want to forget these things.
Sometimes I don’t want to remember these things.
“We’re going to take your son now.”